Full of mesmerizing vocals and eerily haunting lyrics, Fallen is alternative rock band Evanescence’s Grammy-winning debut album. Fallen spent 104 weeks on the Billboard 200- with over half of that time period in the top 20. It went platinum seven times, selling more than seven-million copies in the United States and over 15 million copies worldwide. Having five Grammy nominations, Fallen went on to win two. All of these accolades speak of the great talent of the musicians in this amazing band. Maybe all these things came about because Evanescence is not your typical, crude, pop music- it is real, touching on topics other artists seem to avoid, and seamlessly conveying perfectly dark messages that speak of emotions which everyone feels.
Fallen features powerful female vocalist Amy Lee, whose voice provides a refreshing change from the male voices presently heard all over the rock genre. Her voice is so emotional that it feels as if she were sitting right in front of you, letting you help her bear her burdens of unrequited love, sorrows, and grief. Unlike most mainstream music today, it gives you something to think about and, subsequently, leaves your soul with something that plagues and stays with you throughout the rest of the day.
Amy Lee and co-founder Ben Moody gave birth to the group in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1994, where they met at a youth camp. Their big break was in 2002, when the company behind the movie Daredevil asked Evanescence to headline the soundtrack. By the time the film was released in February, “Bring Me to Life” was being played all over the radio.
Evanescence always keeps the listener guessing, using an interesting mix of musical styles- including classical strings (violins) and more modern guitar riffs. For example, the orchestration of “My Immortal,” written by both Ben Moody and Amy Lee, is almost completely comprised of pianos and violins. In contrast, a significant number of the songs, such as the first song on the album, “Going Under” have hard rock elements, including heavy drums and the aforementioned guitar riffs. These compositions are a mixture of heaven and hell, with instances of angelic voices in the background of the song “Everybody’s Fool” compared to occasions of screaming men, as heard in one of their hit singles, “Bring Me to Life.” This unusually beautiful sound lends Evanescence an originality that is unmistakably their own.
Many of the songs on Fallen are influenced by the deaths of Lee’s 3 year old sister and Moody’s grandfather. The strong messages about death and depression induce emotions that may be unwanted for some listeners. They often talk about feeling worthless, feelings that, as teenagers, we need to healthily explore and gives you something that makes you feel as though you are not the only one.
On many popular albums, the best song is not the most well known. For example, my favorite song on this album is “Imaginary.” First released in 1998 on Lee and Moody’s Evanescence EP, “Imaginary” forced me to dig deeper within myself. At first I had no idea of what the song was talking about, but on my second listen, the nonsensical chorus which speaks of purple skies, paper flowers, and candy clouds became a reality. I realized that she wanted to get away from this world, leaving her personal troubles behind by creating a perfect fantasy land. By inviting me into her utopia, I saw the possibility of using creativity to make my own fantasy land become real.
The flow of the lyrics, the powerful voice and the beautifully arranged songs are all examples of why this album is amazing. But, something deeper than the external speaks to me when I listen to this music; something that lurks behind the words- perhaps a glimpse of myself. As Lee said in “Hello,” “Soon, I know I’ll wake from this dream,” but while I am still in it, I will love and cherish Evanescence as long as I’m asleep.